Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Romanucci-Ross (Lola) Papers
MSS 0818  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (126.36 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Publication Rights
  • Related Materials
  • Restrictions

  • Descriptive Summary

    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Lola Romanucci-Ross Papers
    Creator: Romanucci-Ross, Lola
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0818
    Physical Description: 6.2 Linear feet (13 archives boxes, 4 card file boxes, and 4 films)
    Date (inclusive): 1953-2000
    Abstract: Papers of Lola Romanucci-Ross, cultural anthropologist and professor in both UC San Diego's Department of Anthropology and the School of Medicine's Department of Family and Preventative Medicine.
    Languages: English .

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Papers of Lola Romanucci-Ross, cultural anthropologist and professor in both UC San Diego's Department of Anthropology and the School of Medicine's Department of Family and Preventative Medicine. The collection contains correspondence; field notes and diary accounts from her research in Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and Italy; research and lecture notes; drafts of writings; and audiovisual materials including sound recordings and a small selection of films made by her former husband, anthropologist Ted Schwartz.


    Lola Romanucci-Ross was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania to first-generation Italian immigrants. She received her bachelor degree at Ohio University, her M.A. from the University of Minnesota, and earned her doctoral degree from Indiana University in 1963. She then traveled to France for post-doctoral research with renowned anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss at l'École des Hautes Études. She studied medical, social and cultural anthropology.
    In 1958 she and her then-husband Theodore "Ted" Schwartz began a three-year fieldwork research project focused on a psycho-cultural study of the Mexican village of Chiconcuac, (now Chiconcuac de Juárez), working under German philosopher Erich Fromm with the Mexican National University.
    In 1963 the Schwartzes set out for a three-year expedition funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to study the Manus people of the Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea. The study, which they called the New Guinea Admiralty Island Expedition (NGAI), lasted from 1963-1966. She accompanied Ted Schwartz for the first two years and he continued on for the third year. This expedition was also part of a Ted Schwartz's longitudinal study of the Manus people which spanned several decades. It was there that the Schwartzes developed a life-long friendship and professional relationship with anthropologist Margaret Mead. During the study, they were based primarily in Pere but also other villages including Sori and Mokerang for six months each, as well as Lorengau.
    In 1969, Romanucci-Ross joined the UC San Diego faculty shortly after the conception of the School of Medicine and was at the forefront of incorporating social sciences in the training of medical students and was instrumental in developing a new core curriculum called Social and Behavioral Sciences.
    She returned to the hometown of her parents, Ascoli Piceno, Italy in 1970 to conduct a longitudinal cultural study of medical and psychological anthropology, which continued for over two decades.
    In 1972 she married her third husband John Ross, Jr., a cardiologist and professor of medicine at UC San Diego. As longstanding supporters of higher education, they share the UC San Diego School of Medicine Lola Romanucci-Ross and John Ross, Jr. Award in Medical Anthropology, and the John and Lola Ross Award in Sciences and Culture of Medicine.
    Throughout her long career, Romanucci-Ross published over 77 professional papers, as well as several books based on her field research. Her ethnography, Conflict, Violence and Morality in a Mexican Village, was first published in 1973 about her study in the rural community of Chiconcuac, Mexico. Mead's Other Manu: Phenomenology of the Encounter (1985), emerged from the work she conducted in Papua New Guinea and from her close association with Margaret Mead. When Law and Medicine Meet: A Cultural View, was co-authored with her cousin, lawyer and psychiatrist Laurence Tancredi as part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine series. Romanucci-Ross collaborated with Tancredi as well as Daniel Moerman, editing The Anthropology of Medicine: From Culture to Medicine; she co-edited along with George DeVos Ethnic Identity: Creation, Conflict and Accommodation (1995) to which she contributed the essay "Matrices of an Italian Identity," from her field study in Ascoli Piceno, and her book One Hundred Towers: An Italian Odyssey of Cultural Survival (1991) was the culmination of her two decades long study there. To Love the Stranger: The Making of An Anthropologist (2012) was her last major published work. It draws on both her personal and professional insights from a life in the field and describes from her perspective what it means to be an anthropologist.
    Romanucci-Ross was a member or fellow of several professional organizations including the American Anthropological Association, the Society for Health and Human Values, the Society for Medical Anthropology, the Southwestern Anthropological Association, the Society for Psychological Anthropology, the Society for Cultural Anthropology, and the Society for Anthropology of Europe.
    She died on April 29, 2017 at the age of 93.

    Preferred Citation

    Lola Romanucci-Ross Papers. MSS 818. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 2019

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Related Materials

    Theodore Schwartz Papers. MSS 790. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.


    Original audiovisual formats are restricted. Viewing/listening copies may be available for researchers.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Anthropologists -- California -- San Diego -- Archives
    Ethnologists -- California -- San Diego -- Archives
    Medical anthropology -- Research -- Mexico
    Medical anthropology -- Research -- Papua New Guinea
    Ethnology -- Research -- Mexico
    Ethnology -- Research -- Italy
    Ethnology -- Papua New Guinea
    Romanucci-Ross, Lola -- Archives
    Schwartz, Theodore
    Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978
    Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980